‘We could all benefit from a mentor’ by Toni Mayner

I joined the mentoring scheme because I wanted to decide whether studying a PhD was the right thing for me. What I didn’t expect, was the impact that meeting other PhD students and hearing about their research would have on my decision.

Having spent 18 months attending courses and researching the possibilities, the enthusiasm about their subjects, shared experiences, opportunities and challenges that the mentors and mentees have shared and expressed at our meetings have all led me to decide that a PhD is possible and something that will enhance me and my work.

I have never had a mentor before and have found the experience to be delightful. My mentor is generous with his knowledge and has already shared a considerable amount of  his in-head bibliography on sources of inspiration, references and others artistic practice with me whilst enabling me to explore and refine my ideas.

At the recent professional development event the word we discussed as a group was ‘sustainability’. There were many interpretations of what this might represent, however, for me at this time, the mentoring scheme, catch-up events and research cafes all contribute to my being able to sustain the commitment and work required in achieving study at this level and have transformed what was an individual experience into me becoming part of a research community.

Toni Mayner is a lecturer at the School of Jewellery and a practicing jewellery artist whose current research examines themes of loss and remembrance.

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